Like boxing father, like boxing son

JMS 8th grader, Joshua Clark wins Region 4 boxing title 

by Megan Hopps

SUN PRESS Newspapers


Jim Clark, a multiple world record holder and boxing coach at Valhalla Combat Sports in Dayton, beams as he watches his son throw punches to his opponent. But his son, Josh Clark, isn’t picking a fight at school, he’s competing for the state boxing title and Silver Gloves Award. Following in his father’s footsteps, Josh, an eighth-grader at Jackson Middle School, boxes, wrestles and studies various forms of martial arts at the gym where his father coaches. He wrestles on the middle school team and holds the Minnesota state title in boxing for his weight class and age group.

“A USA fighter passed out flyers for a state boxing tournament so my dad and I looked into it,” said Josh. “I went on to the state boxing tournament and won and qualified for regionals.”

Josh then went on to beat the state champions from Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Joshua Clark faces Ryder Grove for a boxing promotion called "Jungle Boy" at Grandma's Sports Garden in Duluth. Joshua won the fight by unanimous decision. (Submitted photo)
Joshua Clark faces Ryder Grove for a boxing promotion called “Jungle Boy” at Grandma’s Sports Garden in Duluth. Joshua won the fight by unanimous decision. (Submitted photo)

Josh began training with Thomas Jones, a professional fighter who fought under the instruction of Don King, at the age of eight years old. He joined Valhalla Combat Sports in Dayton four and half years ago, but didn’t start taking boxing classes until he reached middle school. He practices leg technique and mixed martial arts twice a week and also wrestles for the JMS team. But fighting isn’t just about physical strength. Fighters must learn to control their minds and emotions to be successful in the ring.

“I think what’s really helped him be successful is hypnosis,” said Jim. “When people get into combat sports they can become too wound up and can’t control their fear. A person that can remain calm and relaxed under pressure is successful.”

Hypnosis has helped Josh learn to control his fears and remove doubt from his mind. And Josh said that’s not the only thing that helps keep him on his game.

“Practice makes the fights easier and it helps to train with people that are bigger than me,” said Josh. “I think if you train hard, eat healthy and stay in shape, those things help keep a person concentrated and focused.”

Josh has had many trainers that have worked with him to help keep him focused and successful as a boxer and wrestler.

“We have division one wrestlers come into the gym to teach,” said Jim. “He’s been around a lot of great wrestlers and takes instruction from Thomas Jones.”

Jones, rated one of the top 10 wrestlers in the world, trained with Roy Jones Jr. and Mohammed Ali.

“Josh is undefeated in wrestling,” Jim said. “He’s a natural.”

Josh won the Silver Gloves boxing title as well as the upper Midwest regional boxing tournament in 2014. He plans to continue his boxing and wrestling careers and is excited for what the future holds.


Contact Megan Hopps at [email protected]